They call it an extreme form of mining and members of several Appalachian environmental groups are asking the United Nations to abolish mountaintop removal. Those groups met with the United Nations' Commission on sustainable development in New York Tuesday asking them to embrace greater use of renewable energy and to shun clean coal technologies.
The Appalachian environmental groups are fighting against more than leveling the mountainous land and the concern for interruption of clean water. They're asking the U.N. to be against the latest research to use coal for fuel.
At a post mining reclamation sight in Letcher County, it's easy to see the benefits that some communities thrive off of from the process, new forms of tourism, airports, industrial parks, jobs and flat housing developments. Some coal companies say taking that option away from land owners and this region is not good for anyone.
"Our country was founded on the basis of freedom and the ownership of personal property. To take away that economic asset and that economic asset is the right to lease that to a coal company to do surface mining. It improves the value of that land for the land owner, it gets royalties from the mining of coal. That's money to send their kids to school. To me, that's one of the greatest injustices done upon those land owners," said Paul Matney with TECO Coal Corporation.
Whether the United Nations will join in the fight is not much of a concern to the president of the Kentucky Coal Association.
"There's no human rights violations involved in mountaintop removal, surface mining East Kentucky. It's another emotional card being played," said Bill Caylor.
We have no information on a response from the U.N.